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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

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PhD in


This programme jointly offered by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and the University of Trento aims to equip talented young people with the mindset and principles of responsible management and sustainable leadership, preparing them to contribute to a better future world and economy by balancing social, ecological, and economic aspects appropriately.

Course description

Our programme invites young scholars to explore, learn, and grow in a vibrant environment. Students benefit from two diverse universities, inspiring collaborations, and exciting networking opportunities.

As a PhD student in our programme, you will have access to a broad spectrum of professors, seminars, and workshops that will equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in your field of study. Our joint faculty brings together experts from various disciplines, providing a unique and comprehensive approach to management studies.

Moreover, being a part of our community means connecting with a strong alumni network that offers support, guidance, and a lot of opportunities for professional development.

How do you benefit from our joint PhD programme?
The specific feature of this programme is that you will have two tutors/supervisors: one from Bolzano and one from Trento.
This is beneficial in terms of:

  • Scope of expertise, i.e. exposure to a wider range of knowledge and perspectives,
  • Networking opportunities, as you will be part of two different professional networks,
  • support and guidance, through access to different perspectives, which will allow you to consider alternative viewpoints and refine your work,

Opportunities for collaboration, as co-supervision can lead to increased interaction between your two supervisors, which may ultimately lead to joint publications.

The programme focuses on the development of theoretical and applied research in business and management sciences through the acquisition of specialised skills, particularly in the following research areas Accounting and Accountability; Organisational Behaviour and Decision Making; Consumer Behaviour; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Family Business; International Management; Knowledge Management; Organisational Design and Human Resource Management; Strategy and Strategic Leadership; and Tourism Management.

The three-year full-time doctoral programme combines core seminars in quantitative and qualitative methods, relevant organisational and management theories and research strategies with additional individual training. Depending on the specific research interests and goals of the doctoral student, the content and learning methods are determined with the two supervisors.

This topic-specific individual support and mentoring, the promotion of interdisciplinary approaches and critical thinking, as well as financial support for research stays at renowned universities and a generous scholarship are features that set our programme apart from comparable programmes.

Doctoral students will be introduced to specific research areas of both faculties and will have the opportunity to participate in innovative research projects. They will benefit from a powerful combined set of resources (e.g. libraries, datasets, laboratories, facilities) to conduct relevant, international research. The international academic staff of both partner universities offer a wide range of research opportunities. Current research interests of potential supervisors can be found here. Candidates for a PhD position can use these research interests as an orientation and contact the respective Collegio members directly to see if their own research ideas are of interest and/or can be supported.

In collaboration with:

In collaboration with:

At a glance

Duration of the programme: 3 years
Courses will be taught in English
Places available: 6 with scholarship + 1 without scholarship
Campuses: Bozen-Bolzano and Trient-Trento
Tuition fees: € 180 per year
Stay abroad: 4 to 6 months stays at renowned research institutions

Programme structure

Students are assigned two tutors (unibz and UniTrento) who support the integration phase and ideally take over the supervision later. The first six months of the programme provide basic knowledge of methods and theories in the field of responsible management in order to develop a common skill set among our doctoral students, regardless of their background. Depending on individual research interests, information and opportunities for specialist training will be provided. Ideally, a working paper will be completed by the end of the first year. At the beginning of September, a progress review takes place to ensure that the expected progress is being met and that the student can continue.

The second year is used to further develop the specific research topic, to present initial results at conferences, to expand methodological and conceptual knowledge and, ideally, to develop a second working paper. Preferably, PhD students will already spend part of their external research stay at partner institutions. The academic year ends with the second progress review.
The third year is devoted to completing or refining further publishable research and submitting it to academic conferences and journals. The dissertation, consisting of at least three published or publishable articles, must be submitted in early summer and defended at the end of the year after being assessed by external referees. Successful doctoral candidates will receive a doctorate from both participating universities.

International Research Collaborations

The Faculty and Collegio members of both partner universities have close academic networks within their specific research areas, too numerous to list here.  Our PhD programme benefits from the guidance and support of an Advisory Board of leading, internationally recognised colleagues from different countries and disciplines, which currently consists of the following members:

Additionally, our faculty members have established partnerships with colleagues, research groups, and institutes for instance from:

These and many more professional contacts will provide our PhD students with numerous opportunities to pursue their research interests, to develop and maintain important networks, and to experience the life of a young scholar on a truly international level. Finally, it will be of help with starting a successful academic career.


PhD Programme Coordinator: Prof. Michael Nippa (photo) and Prof. Fabio Zona (at UniTrento)
Student representative in the Collegio: tbd


Study at unibz 8

Studying at unibz

Living in South Tyrol, Housing, Scholarships and more

Study at unibz phd

Coming to unibz from Abroad

Application procedure, Visa, Residence permit and more

Application and Admission

We not only seek highly talented, international applicants with an outstanding performance record, but personalities in every respect, who are motivated, self-disciplined, and who possess a high degree of social skills and a sense of responsibility.
You will be required to take part in a public recruitment competition (see call in due time).

Admissible applicants should possess or need to complete their master, a second cycle degree, or an equivalent foreign title with honors preferably in Economics and/or Business Administration. Among others you will have to demonstrate competence in the English language with a recognised language certificate at the C1 level and to prove excellent results in your prior stages of education and activities related to the specific research fields of responsible management.

For administrative purposes (i.e., the need of concentrating procedures in one institution), applications must be submitted to the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. For detailed information on how to apply and gain admission to this PhD Program please browse the general and specific calls below even if they are from the last year as procedures and main criteria should not differ significantly. The call for 2024 will be published early May, application deadline will be mid-June, interviews with short listed candidates are to be expected in the first week of July (change may apply).

Successful applicants will be expected to reside in South Tyrol or Trentino during the 3-year period of the PhD scholarship and to contribute actively to our international research environment.

1st Call

Application deadline: to be defined


With any further question please contact us by phone at +39 0471 012800 or send us an e-mail:

Visiting PhD students and sabbatical stay

The Faculty of Economics and Management at unibz and the Department of Economics and Management at UniTrento may accept PhD students from other universities who would like to undertake a short period of research (i.e., up to four months). We ask for your understanding that we are not able to accept all students who make an application to visit the Faculties and therefore need to be selective based upon qualifications and mutual fit of the research interests.

To facilitate your application and ensure we can manage our limited resources effectively, prospective visiting PhD researchers need to find and contact a Collegio member, who is working in the same research area and willing to host the applicant. The host will forward the complete application (CV; purpose and research objective of the stay; topic of a research seminar to be provided at the beginning of the visit) together with a recommendation for approval to the PhD Collegio.

In preparation for your visit with us, neither the Faculty of Economics and Management of unibz nor the Department of Economics and Management of UniTrento are able to provide access to Italy or any other secure data to visitors or visiting students. If you require this service, please contact your home institute, as they will be required to provide such access. Both faculties also recommend that you bring your own laptop with the required software.